We've all heard the classic homesickness, freshmen 15, and over partying/drinking that comes with your first year in a dorm. I think this is a possibility even for those who are no longer freshmen/first years, as long as it's their first year away from home.
Anyways, so far, I've done a pretty good job of preventing those and hopefully, I'll be able to keep it up and/or improve. (On what? Lol)
So- drinking. This was surprisingly easy. Back in the US, I was super pumped that I technically would be legal to drink in UK/Europe (drinking age is mostly 16). I even thought I'd be easily sucked into the drinking culture, considering I picked a partying dorm. Yet, the only alcohol I've drunk thus far was the champagne at the Eiffel Tower. I've even encountered a few times where people have urged me to drink and I've managed to avoid it. Case 1- one party in the dorms- I'm not old enough. Case 2- second party- I'm sick. Case 3- at an icebreaker party where we get free shots, and of course, I was urged to get one as well. This one was particularly interesting, because I just gave the shot to another friend who was... kinda of already drunk and she accepted it. Case 4- at another social club crawl where I was asked- "How come you're not drinking?" Reply? "Oh because they said we got free shots, but I guess not." Interestingly, I think what it basically boils down to, is, the people I've encountered with drinks, not British people as a whole, don't urge as strongly, because it was just one rejection from me, and they didn't push anymore.
As for the common "freshmen 15"? This is basically your case of- living away from home? You can eat however much you want! And then the next time you check the scale- boom- 15lbs extra! Now how did I skirt this one so far? By getting sick! Yes- for roughly the last two weeks, I was sick with a cold and pretty much lost my appetite. So, that also saved me money from buying food and gaining weight for 2 weeks. (I know- horrible way of thinking about the good sides to catching a cold.) Ok, I kid, I kid. But those two weeks really did help me avoid eating too much. But really, the key I've found most useful, is not having enough money to pay for food, not having a meal plan, and, best of all, not having a fast food joint nearby. This also all sounds like outside factors, but I've begun taking steps, now that I'm getting out of this cold. Fruits, vegetables, meat- what I'm having daily, and I've made sure that I stick to that. Grains- bread, oatmeal, and scones, because they're the cheapest/most convenient/most long lasting thing to buy. Controlling my budget to sacrifice food over education (i.e. printing, textbooks) is also key. For example, would I rather spend £9 on groceries for 1.5 weeks, or £7 for a full course meal? (Basically $14.47 and $11.25) Yeah.
Now homesickness. This is definitely going to be different for everyone. I have been pretty much pampered my whole life, sheltered, you name it. So, it'd be natural to assume that once I leave my mommy and daddy, I'd be bawling like a baby. On the contrary, I've found it very easy to get accustomed to living here by myself, through a combo of experience (primarily going to conventions if that counts as experience), the dream and goal to get as busy as possible, and, of course, the power of the internet today. Totally gonna skip the point about cons. Now, as odd as this sounds, I actually haven't been as busy as I hoped I would be. First off, none of my classes require jam-packed weekly assignments. In fact, they're hardly exciting in terms of workload even though it was exactly as I hoped they would be. I also joined the Dance Squad, Art Soc, and Illustration Guild (and accidentally joined ISS). Now unfortunately, as they sound, they're pretty lame and tame societies/clubs. *Disappoint* Hopefully, if I audition for the dance squad (because right now it's just dance lessons) and get in then I'll get busy working for the competition, team, etc. As for socials? Well, they're aren't a whole lot in any of those (believe it or not!) four! (I also joined Pride, but again, not many yet). Wondering if I should have joined Quidditch after all. Obviously, my hopes of weekly vlogs have clearly failed. As for internet? Well, there's Skype, Facebook, and Google+ for starters! Much like how easy it was to keep in touch with Rayestar while she was in Taiwan, it's pretty much the same with me right now.
Now, do I recommend any of these methods to combat drinking/partying, overeating, and homesickness? Of course not- they're rather unhealthy and situation-specific. So good luck to everyone else, though!